At 9:30 a.m. on March 20, 2010, precisely on time, the Plastiki, a "boat made of 12,000 plastic bottles," and the brainchild of banking heir David de Rothschild, set sail from a berth in Sausalito, Calif., just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, on its way to Australia.
The Plastiki was not just the world's first boat made buoyant by discarded soda bottles. It was also a statement about the world's garbage problem, and the fact that most plastic bottles are thrown away rather than recycled. The goal was to sail 11,000 nautical miles to Sydney, Australia.
Among the inspirations for the project was the Kon Tiki expedition, Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 trip across the Pacific in a boat that was a reproduction of an Inca raft.
And in keeping with tradition, the Plastiki paid even more homage to Heyerdahl. Among the six crew members was Olav Heyerdahl, Thor's grandson.
The Plastiki boat did eventually complete the journey, arriving in Sydney on July 26, 2010.
Now, de Rothschild has published "Plastiki--Across the Pacific on Plastic: An Adventure to Save our Oceans," his memoir of the project from beginning to end.
Complete with stories of the inspirations for the project, as well as memories of the construction of the boat, and of course, the journey itself, "Plastiki" is the definitive tome about a project that captured imaginations across the globe.
Here, in this photograph from the book, the Plastiki is seen sailing in open waters.
Plastiki, an all-plastic boat made with more than 12,000 plastic bottles, set sail from Sausalito, Calif., for Sydney, Australia, on March 20, 2010. Here, it is seen just as it begins to move away from the dock in Sausalito.
The Plastiki featured what de Rothschild called a "vertical garden," which grew up the mast and allowed the crew to have fresh herbs and other veggies. Also seen here is the boat's Inmarsat communications system.
Fans of the Plastiki expedition can read all about the project at ThePlastiki.com. And now, they can read expedition leader David de Rothschild's official account of the project in his new book, "Plastiki--Across the Ocean on Plastic: An Adventure to Save our Oceans."
One side project that Plastiki expedition leader David de Rothschild helped out with during the journey was to help artist Jay Little track a message in a bottle across the ocean. Here, de Rothschild prepared to release the bottle into t the Pacific Ocean last April. The bottle has a special satellite tag inside that allows it to be tracked on a daily basis. It currently is somewhere near The Philippines.